Yesterday’s topic at the New York Times “Room for Debate” blog series was on the President’s Afghanistan withdrawal announcement and what to do with the resulting “peace dividend”. Heritage’s Mackenzie Eaglen weighed in:
Politics matters in war. It’s why the Army Chief of Staff after Vietnam tried to institute a doctrine where the nation only makes large or prolonged military commitments using all forces, including those in the National Guard and Reserves.
But the politically expedient path to draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan more quickly than military commanders suggest—and at increased risk to a very small share of our population—could lead to unintended consequences. It could also lead to prolonged operations that would’ve otherwise been unnecessary, or jeopardize success made over the past year.
The rapid draw-down broadcasts a stronger American commitment to withdrawal than long-term stability of Afghanistan. Our urgent pullout is likely to bolster Al Qaeda and Taliban morale, weaken our allies’ resolve, discourage Pakistan from cracking down on Taliban leaders in its country, and spook local Afghans who’ve been our partners.
The U.S. mission in Afghanistan is directly linked to our vital national interests of keeping the homeland safe from attack. It is not a luxury.
Read the rest of her post over here.